Sunday, December 30, 2018

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Brianna Has a Surprising but Rewarding Reunion with Claire and Jamie in 'The Birds & the Bees'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 4.09 "The Birds & the Bees"

As Brianna struggles to compartmentalize the trauma she's suffered in the wake of the tragedy that befell her in Wilmington, she refocuses on finding her parents.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Starz's Outlander.

"The Birds & the Bees" was written by Matthew B. Roberts & Toni Graphia and directed by David Moore

There was so much anticipation heading into Brianna and Jamie meeting for the first time. It was a moment this season has been building towards for awhile now. Brianna made the journey back to the 18th century to warn her parents about the grim fate awaiting them. She felt it necessary to tell them about their obituaries not knowing just how much time they have left. It also provides her an opportunity to see her mother again and get to know the man that she loves. Jamie and Brianna have so much blind love and respect for each other. But it's so meaningful to see them actually interacting. In fact, their first meeting is so unexpected. Jamie knows what Brianna looks like thanks to the pictures Claire brought with her. He has heard the stories about his daughter. And yet, his brain can't rationalize Brianna actually being in front of him in Wilmington. He knows that she is two hundred years in the future living a completely different life. One that has more opportunities for her. But here she is. She's surprised to see him for the first time as well. It doesn't matter that he happens to be urinating behind a building. To her, it's just miraculous that Claire and Jamie happen to be in Wilmington at the moment too. This city has proven to be one full of chance encounters with all of the various run-ins amongst the characters lately. However, it's more meaningful when it comes to this grand family reunion. It's the sole thing that is driving Brianna too. She can quickly embrace the peacefulness and acceptance of family without having to worry about the trauma that has just been done on her. It's absolutely horrifying to know that Stephen Bonnet raped her and he is taking Roger far away to complete their journey together. It's something that Brianna wouldn't like to talk about. However, it's clear to many people that there is something wearing on her mind. Lizzie can see the bruises. And yet, Brianna pushes away any help. She wants to forget that this even happened. She would much rather get to know her father. She enjoys going hunting with him and hearing just how grateful he is for all that Frank did for her. It remains very awkward. But it's still a dynamic full of love and appreciation. The two are kindred spirits after all. However, Claire is the one who can sense that something is wrong with her daughter. She knows that she is pregnant. It's only then that Brianna confesses everything that happened to her during that fateful night in Wilmington. It was so beautiful with Roger until it wasn't. Then, it took an even more tragic twist with Bonnet seeming like the only viable candidate for being the father of her child. That is such a brutal moment. It's powerful because of the history between Claire and Brianna as well. Jamie and Brianna are still just getting to know each other. Meanwhile, Claire has had a lifetime with her daughter. That informs their dynamic so much and makes it so emotional when all of these reveals come out. That only continues after Claire discovers that Bonnet was the one who raped her daughter. He continues to present himself as the man doing so much harm to the entire family.

It's also fascinating to see how much of this episode revolves around characters being mistaken about the circumstances of others. Brianna believes that Roger left because she told him to during their big fight. She thinks he's never coming back again. They had their chance. And now, it has been ruined. In reality though, Bonnet has forced him to continue with his service for a few more weeks. Meanwhile, Lizzie assumes that Roger was the man who assaulted Brianna. She never interacted with him. She doesn't know who he is or his relation to Brianna. When she saw the two of them interacting, it was the initial fight of Roger following Brianna to the past. That still played things as Brianna not wishing to go with this man but being forced to anyway. As such, it should feel empowering when Lizzie steps up to protect the woman who saved her. She couldn't do so when it came to comforting her after the assault. But she can surely ensure that more harm isn't inflicted onto her now. That just leads to the forced situation of Jamie beating up Roger and having Young Ian lead him away on horseback. Roger had honest intentions of coming back to Brianna and explaining everything that happened. He's eagerly looking for directions of how to get to Fraser's Ridge so that conversation can occur. And now, a case of mistaken identity means that they are pushed apart once more. It will remain interesting to see how long all of this can be a secret too. Brianna doesn't want Jamie to know that it was Bonnet who assaulted her. She only told Claire because her mother discovered the ring that was taken from her. That was the piece of jewelry that has caused so much pain as of late. It was so sweet and romantic of Jamie to forge a new one for Claire. But now, the old version may serve as a painful reminder of what was taken from this family. Sure, it has led to the creation of new life. It has just come at a severe cost. Claire and Jamie understand that their daughter needs them now more than ever before. They are fiercely protective of her. And yet, they fear that any day she will leave to return to her home in the 20th century. They fear that this trip is only temporary. They would like her to stay at Fraser's Ridge. The support from family can be so helpful at the moment. But it may be tragic as well after Brianna eventually learns about what happened to Roger when he tried to come back to her.